I just got home from witnessing one of the most amazing things I have ever seen in my life, and that was the Tri-Chef Showdown, in benefit of the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. It was an amazing event. I don’t even know if I have the words to explain it.
When we showed up, we dropped off our canned goods to the incredible staff from the Food Bank, who I must say looked unquestionably astonishing dressed in orange, bought some voting tickets (which were $1.00 a piece, and allowed us to vote for which dishes we liked the most), and drink tickets. Once we purchased our tickets, we talked through The Chefs Academy classrooms that were all set up with all of the pastry and savory foods you could think of. There was banana cream pie, strawberry cream pie, breads of all sorts, cakes, tiramisu, you name it for the pastry. For the savory side, we tasted food from all over the world including the Philippians, The Orient, Greece and Brazil, and then ventured into another room where we tasted a mushroom risotto with duck confit and a plum gastrique, perch in a white wine sauce with white wine rice, and this salad… omg, this salad; it had endive, and arugula with glazed pears, caramelized walnuts, feta cheese, and this most amazing shallot balsamic vinaigrette.
After we tasted the food inside, we moved outside, and tasted the food that was being judged. There were two meals that really stood out to us, a blackened catfish meal, and a butternut squash soup with pulled pork and a pickled onion on top. Chef Ryan Payne of Weathervane, here in Raleigh won. He made the soup! Yum!
As we were waiting for the results to come in, many different people spoke. Jayson Boyers, of The Chefs Academy opened up speeches, and introduced himself, and why he was helping the Food Bank. If you actually see him talk about how important the Food Bank is to him, here, when he spoke to Gregory Ng of FreezerBurns at the Food Bank’s telethon. As soon as Jayson stood up, he told the audience where they were with donations; the Food Bank’s goal was to raise 100,000 meals. When he started speaking, they were $5000 away from achieving their goal; he stated that he was going to donate $1000, and asked people to help out. Within a minute, four more people donated $1000. I was so in awe. I literally had goosebumps and just couldn’t believe the support. I just feel so grateful to be part of a community who supports each other and helps each other out. After Jayson spoke, Peter Werbicki, the President and CEO of the Food Bank spoke. His words were so inspiring. He reminded us of how 1 in 6 Americans are at or below the poverty line, and are suffering from hunger and how over 550,000 in the 24 counties that the Food Bank serves are hungry. His words were so moving, it made me have to take a step back, and think about how grateful I am to have a meal on my table every night, and that there is so much more I can do to spread the word about the Food Bank. After Peter spoke, Dana Lange, the Chair of the Board of Directors spoke, and her words were very touching as well. She told us how maybe it was our neighbor who was hungry, or the child who sits next to our child at school is hungry. What really hit home, was the statistics, 51% of public school students qualify for reduced or free lunches, and then she said, “probably even more children are hungry, but are embarrassed to say so”. WOW. This hit home.
As the night continued, we watched the presentations by other patrons, and watched all of the community support and generosity. I am just so in awe over the kindness of the people who support the Food Bank, and even more, the people who work there. I haven’t been in a mood like this in a long time, and I owe it all to the Food Bank, and the people who were there to support them.
Remember, there’s still more you can do. Participate in the FNS Challenge with me, and see what it is like for the millions of Americans who face hunger every day.
Be hunger heroes today, and donate to your local Food Bank!